• Sha Jumari

Pioneering innovative e-commerce solutions for corrugated packaging in unprecedented times

We spoke with large format specialists, Billboard Media, as it celebrates its move to a larger purpose-built site and their innovative expansion into the e-commerce corrugated packaging space.

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Billboard Media (BBM) is a well-established company specialising in digital printing. Recently, the company completed its move to a bigger facility in Oakleigh South standing at 10,000m2 – twice the size of its last site.

The move was especially momentous, as it was done amidst the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Thanks to the dedicated staff and local engineering team from HP, BBM was able to complete the challenging move.

BBM specialises in all forms of digital print and converting.

From billboards to street posters, transit signage, construction wraps, vinyl banners and general sign and display, the company is a major force in digital production and distribution. Through additional investment in state-of-the-art packaging equipment, BBM also produces corrugated products to small and large companies, such as boxes, cartons, shippers and in store stands for the retail sector.

At the helm of BBM is founder Randal Shreeve, who is no stranger to large format with 38 years under his belt. Randal had his start as a sign writer in 1982, working on the shops in all the major streets of Melbourne. When he purchased a Gerber vinyl cutting machine, it pivoted him into a whole new world of signage.

“As the business grew, an opportunity arose to buy another signage company which had a paper digital printer and laminator. This led me to get into digital printing,” said Randal. “As we grew even more, it took me into longer prints of 5-metres wide. This then made me look worldwide to find a 5-metre printer… which ultimately became the HP 5100.”

Randal installed three HP5100s along with two HP Turbo Jets. Soon after, he purchased three 5-metres and two 3.2-metres solvent printers. Adding to his arsenal, Randal bought HP Latex printers; two HP 3000 Latex printers and two HP 1600 Latex printers. Equally impressive is his armoury of HP Industrial Flat Bed or rigid board printers. He has invested in three HP Scitex 11000 Industrial Press as signage devices and two high end HP Scitex 17000 Corrugated Press for packaging printing purposes, to complete his offering.

Randal’s philosophy is “Never let the customer down”, and it shows.

“I always ensure I have redundancy. We are fully committed to our customer needs and timelines and always deliver ‘on time, every time.’ At this stage I believe I have purchased HP’s leading solutions for the signage industry. I’m now open to widen my offering to corrugated packaging,” said Randal.

The new Oakleigh South site holds five factories, each one catering different areas of work. The massive facility has: a printing site with a total of 19 printers and stock; a cutting building housing robotic cutting tables, die cutter and guillotine; a manufacturing area with hot air welders, eyeleting machines and keder; a stock area with a large array of stocks; and finally a 1,000m2 office with plenty of room for display.

With over 80 highly skilled and long term staff supporting the operation and expansion into new e-commerce opportunities, BBM is well positioned for all customer demands and supply requirements.

“Our team is second to none across all facets of the digital process. From creatives to production and quality control we excel. The team knows the importance of meeting deadlines and ensuring customer satisfaction,” commented Randal.

To further compliment their capabilities Randal revealed that they see opportunities with the HP PageWide C500 Press as part of the next phase in its expanding e-commerce packaging business, Inke Packaging.

Inke Packaging – Customised Corrugated Packaging

A branch off BBM, Inke Packaging (Inke) is an e-commerce platform that provides a fool-proof way for brands to custom-create packaging. Business acumen runs in the family; Inke was started by Randal’s son, Jordan Shreeve, in late 2018.

Jordan was in corrugated sales in BBM after the company installed its first HP Scitex 17000 Press. He noticed there needed to be an easier way for customers with little to no experience in the industry to be able to order their packaging on much simpler terms.

“The industry worked in a very traditional way, with little to none innovation in terms of manufacturing options for small to medium businesses who didn’t need 10,000 boxes on each order,” said Jordan.

To fill in this gap and to capitalise on the increasing demand for high quality short runs for packaging, Inke was born: “We looked overseas for inspiration and seeing the success custom packaging was having, we decided to start the e-commerce website. Using BBM as its manufacturing partner, we were able to simplify and streamline the process,” Jordan continued.

This highlights the appeal and fit of the HP PageWide C500 Press which can deliver offset print quality for mainstream production. The C500 supports a wide array of corrugated applications on both coated and uncoated paper. It utilises food-safe true water-based inks, which comply with even the most stringent global food safety regulations, including Nestlé guidance and Swiss Ordinance, to allow Inke’s F&B customers to produce packaging with peace of mind.

Since its inception, Inke has taken into account the feedback it has received and made significant investments to continuously improve the user experience of the e-commerce platform.

“We’ve built a platform that uses advanced technology to cater to multiple markets in the packaging sector for both small and large business. We also expanded our product catalogue, with plans to continually increase it,” said Jordan.

In addition to the new products, Jordan added that Inke’s platform provides customers with an effortless way to purchase what they need. It also allows for more freedom in terms of customisation and self-quoting tools. The platform has a live order status tracking and personalised dashboard, so that customers can save their products and artworks for easy re-ordering inventory management.

“We’ve also partnered with global design freelance leaders 99designs, creating a collaborative landing page that simplifies the design brief process to easily transfer their ideas to freelance designers to create a print ready file for us to print. This will open the doors for a lot of customers who want custom packaging but do not have design skills,” Jordan added.

“We stand out due to our ability to offer customers, whether small business or large enterprises, an easy and affordable way to simplify the process and self-service their packaging supply chain. As we are backed by BBM, our customers know they are partnered with a reliable manufacturer that can provide state-of-the-art custom and sustainable packaging,” said Jordan.

Inke now has over 1000 customers in Australia which is growing every day. Inke is also planning to expand its services to New Zealand very soon. On top of that, Randal commented that there will be new partnerships and company acquisitions on the agenda as BBM’s train keeps steaming, or perhaps better put, rocketing along!

Together with the potential of the HP C500 Press, BBM’s facilities will become an almost exclusive HP powerhouse: “HP has been terrific over the long journey of 20 years. There have been many obstacles, but we have managed to work around them. It was important to choose a company that will be there for us when things go wrong - I made the right choice. HP is a reliable company that can deliver ink, parts, service and support 24/7 and the right technologies to both keep the machines working and ensure we are always at the equipment forefront in high quality digital print production,” Randal concluded.

First published in Issue 08/2020 of Print Innovation Asia.

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